The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Welcome Home to Heights Park

You dinnint. No you dinnint, Doug. WTF?


In an attempt to rename yours and my neighborhood (I guess Lefferts and PLG are too tainted by jerk), these POS (piece of sh#$) townhouses on Hawthorne have been "rebranded" the dumbass name Heights Park. True, we're up over 100 feet from sea level, leaving us fairly safe during the next 40 day 40 night rainstorm or hurricane, which is not out of the question. ["Gardens," which is also a ridiculous name but I've learned to live with it since it's marked on the buses (we were originally named in 1968 for the Botanic Garden, singular).]

I honestly spit out my morning Joe when I read that.

Doug. Really? You dinnint? Din you?

Curb cuts and all. Oh go eff yourself. Start your own neighborhood. See if the Q cares!*

*Oh yes, the Q cares. He cares a whole bunch.

39 comments:

Paul Galloway said...

HA HA HA!

>barf<

Alex said...

I thought the city wasn't allowing new curb cuts? Perhaps a call to DOB is in order or a quick check on the permits.

ElizabethC said...

And the "branding" begins...

Bob Marvin said...

Dumb name; of all the alternates Tim lists "West Pigtown" might be most appropriate for these. OTOH they're not the ugliest new construction around; note the absence od "Fedders" AC covers.

diak said...

Well for $1.875 million you should expect better than Fedders AC and all that comes with it. But it still looks like another box o' bricks piece o' crap.
Welcome to Pigtown, suckers.

The Snob said...

I think it just means "Heights Parking."

Marcey said...

Prospect-Leffers (with or without Garden) is a perfectly nice name. By comparison, your humble neighbor to the south (where I live), Flatbush, is sorely in need a new name. "Flatbush" has such a harsh ring ... Ideas?

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Marcey: I think you must be new to the area, and I'll tell you why. Prospect Lefferts Gardens a/k/a Lefferts IS Flatbush. Flatbush is the larger neighborhood in which we all (Ditmas Park, Prospect Park South, Lefferts, Caledonia, Victorian Flatbush, Caton Park) all live. These other names are micro-nabes that have developed identities all their own. PLG didn't have that name til 1968.

As to Flatbush...it's a GREAT name! It's one of the original Dutch towns, dating back to the late 1600s when it was spelled Vlacke bos, or flat wooded plain, nearly 400 YEARS ago! You can't mess with that...you might as well suggest changing the name Brooklyn!

(Bob, am I right here or am I right?)

Sean said...

Yeah, I dunno. I like the name Flatbush, and when I tell someone that's where I live, they know where I mean.

Bob Marvin said...

Yes, you're right Tim. Our neighborhood is the northernmost tip of Flatbush. Flatbush (Vlacke bos) , aka Midwout, was the second largest town in Kings County until it was annexed by the City of Brooklyn in 1894. IMO we shouldn't mess with these 17th Century names.

Seth said...

Tim you've been agitating to change the name of PLG for awhile. How is this different aesthetics aside?

Bob Marvin said...

"Lefferts" is a reasonable shorthand expression for Prospect Lefferts Gardens; "Heights Park" is just nonsense. OTOH "Pigtown Heights" has a nice ring to it :-)

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Seth: Two reasons not to accept the name Heights Park. 1. It was coined by someone who doesn't live here. 2. It sux.

Were you to have coined the name, only one of those would have been true.

When I tell people I live in "Lefferts" they generally know what I mean, even if they have just an inkling. PLG means little outside the inside, and never really caught on. I'm not agitating so much as facing facts. And like NoCro (north Crown Heights) before it, Heights Park will die a quick death.

Bob Marvin said...

RE: our neighbors to the north, "NoCro" may not have caught on, but Crown Heights North (as well as "CH South"). certainly have. CHN (the part between Eastern Pkwy and Atlantic Ave.) is very different than our immediate northern neighbor to the north (CHS, bet. Empire and Eastern Pkwy.) For one thing, they have an historic district and a house tour, things that would be unthinkable in the part of Crown Heights that shares our Community Planning Board.

Michelle Cohen said...

soon the whole area will be rebranded CHiNBush.

babs said...

Calling our area Lefferts really overlooks the presence of the Lefferts family all over Brooklyn (and Queens). That's why you have Lefferts Place in Clinton Hill/Bed Stuy (where another branch of the family was a major landholder) and Lefferts Blvd. in Queens, as well as Lefferts Ave. here in PLG (and I get mail for all three - grrr).

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Not buying it Babs. Yes the word Lefferts comes up elsewhere, but those aren't neighborhoods. The phrase "New York" comes up a lot in this city, but that doesn't stop a nabe from being called "East New York." Flatbush Avenue has a presence in many neighborhoods, but only one nabe is called Flatbush.

I'll make a deal with you. If you give up the silly PLG, I'll give you Lefferts Gardens. No Prospect though. Because last I checked, the word "prospect" gets used a lot too around here.






babs said...

Not gonna happen - as you yourself have so often pointed out, this area was once simply Flatbush, much like those parts south of Clarkson (which are not Ditmas, for cripes' sake either, at least until you get a bit farther south). The name was made up by PLGNA to commemorate three important factors here - Prospect Park, the Lefferts family, and the Botanic Garden as well as our own. To leave off any one of them leaves off part of what makes us special, and considering the Lefferts family were also prominent slaveholders (especially the Bed-Stuy branch) that might be the part you'd like to leave out in any case.

Flatbush Ave is called that because it was the street that led to Flatbush, like Bedford Ave went through the village of Bedford Corners (another Lefferts family outpost). And what about the Boston Post Rd.? Last I checked most of that was not in Boston, so I don't think street names are a good example here. Nice try, though.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Okay. So you want to get rid of the name Lefferts? Fine. I'll give you Prospect Gardens, or PiG for short. Which...comes pretty close to Pigtown, one of the original nearby neighborhood names.

I'm not giving up. Here's another rebuttal to your argument. Washington Heights. The name Washington figures prominently in this town too (ol' Dollar Bill George was apparently an important political figure, and I would argue a WAY more prominent slave owner than some joker named Lefferts).

Nope. Lefferts, or Lefferts Gardens, are way more attractive names. And again, if slavery is the issue, Pigtown. Though some prize hogs might take issue...

babs said...

I don't want to change anything about the name, and I don't understand how Washigton Heights is an argument for or against anything. From Wikipedia: " It is named for Fort Washington, a fortification constructed at the highest point on Manhattan island by Continental Army troops during the American Revolutionary War, to defend the area from the British forces."

So it was named for something in the area, just like here was named for three things in our area.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Your original point was that the name "Lefferts" got too much play around town, and my point was that names like "Washington" get used all over too, but it isn't a reason against using the word. I LIKE Lefferts for the simple reason that when you say it, people know what you're talking about. PLG is still insiders code, even after all these years, besides being dorky. Prospect Lefferts Gardens is unwieldy, with or without the hyphens, and clearly unnecessarily so if shorter versions work just as well to define what you're talking about. Ask the MTA...they called us Lefferts Gardens on their buses.

There are no more garden(s) plural here than in many other neighborhoods. So if it's THE Botanic Garden, it should be singular. Prospect would be fine, but it's already taken by Prospect Heights and Prospect Park South, making it dull to my ears. For better or worse, Lefferts is the family that defined this area, though frankly I don't like the idea that it refers to Lefferts "Manor," since most of us don't live in the "Manor," nor do many of us have "gardens" for that matter.

Lastly...I dare you to tell a taxi driver you want to go to PLG and let him grapple with it. Flatbush will do fine, though occasionally I'll say Lefferts Gardens and get a nod of recognition.

FYI, it's all fun and games til someone loses an eye. Or a P.

babs said...

If you said just "Washington" instead of "Washington Heights," do you think people would know what you were talking about? My point wasn't that Lefferts was over-used, only that it makes no sense when used by itself.

And there are plural gardens here, just like in Carroll Gardens (which doesn't even have the Botanic Garden to add to that).

And when I take a cab I tell them I want to go to Lefferts Ave between Rogers and Nostrand and let them deal with that. If only NYC had cabbies like in London, who actually have to have all the streets memorized!

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Great! Then it's decided...

Lefferts Gardens.

(see, if you start your negotiation with something to offer up, in this case the offending word "Prospect," you often arrive at an agreeable compromise.)

Alex said...

Here's the thing: if you're going to create a fake name, at least make it a good one. Heights Park is terrible. It makes no sense and doesn't roll off the tongue if you ask me. Even Park Heights would be a better option.

Someone once suggested "Prospect Empire" as a name for our hood. I mean no disrespect to Lefferts, nor am I suggesting that we ACTUALLY change the name, but Prospect Empire has a great ring and it's geographically appropriate.

babs said...

Nothing is decided - as I said, I'm fine with Prospect Lefferts Gardens (with or without hyphen, as the hyphen is silent). It's where I live, it's the official name of this neighborhood per PLGNA and the LPC, and I have absolutely no problem with that. If you want to call it something it's not, that's your problem. Just don't foist it off on the rest of us.

babs said...

Also, Prospect Empire sounds like a shopping mall or suburban-style Chinese restaurant. I hate the name Empire Blvd. anyway (as well as the street itself, which really wouldn't be out of place in some awful LI suburb) - it was only named that in order to erase the memory of the Malbone St. subway wreck.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Babs. There are plenty of people who don't like the name. If I were alone in disliking the name, I wouldn't keep harping on it. Plus, I hope you can have a sense of humor about it. The PLG crowd takes offense so easily, as if arbitrarily naming a micro-nabe were the job of one small group of neighbors alone. We should at least put it to a vote. It should be consensus, and I'm sorry to say, Prospect Lefferts Gardens still suffers from what sociologists describe as "Crappy Name Syndrome." It's a very technical pathology and I won't go into details, but I'll do my best to spread the word about this fatal disease.

Bob Marvin said...

So, no one but me likes Pigtown Heights?

Alex said...

I don't know, Bob. I'm thinking Pigtown Empire.

babs said...

So that's how it works, is it? You don't like the name of the place you decide you've wanted to live, yet you move there anyway (because this was PLG long before you set up shop here, and me too)? So we both knew full well what we were getting into. If you'd moved here when it was called Flatbush and then someone forced this new name on you I'd have some sympathy for you but not now.

The people who gave this neighborhood its name did so for very specific reasons (not related to property values either). You might want to talk to them before arbitrarily deciding that you can do better,

I don't care for the name Piscataway. And do you know what? I'd never consider living there (plus, it's in New Jersey, so it's automatically out).

The Snob said...

Pigtown Heights would certainly upset the folks at Empire Kosher Market.... and Wholesome Market, come to think of it.

The Snob said...

And FWIW, I think this particular tempest in a teapot is less about the neighborhood having a name that (some) people don't like, but having too many names, to the point of confusion. Back when I lived in South Slope, we would call it "Gowanus" to blank stares. Now look.

Bob Marvin said...

I could see confusing "Lower Park Slope"with "Gowanus", but the South Slope?

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Babs. I love getting you all in a tizzy. Reminds me of the way I used to tease my sister.

Look, if you think the name "PLG" was canonized and codified, you're dead wrong. I've heard this neighborhood referred to Lefferts Gardens more than anything else. People who don't know much will say Prospect Lefferts Gardens, but only a few have decided PLG is a name that sticks, and gosh knows they've been trying - PLG Arts for instance, and I don't begrudge it. People may nickname a neighborhood all they like, but to me, it's a lame name, and I've been here long enough to be able to get uppity now and then if I want. Just as you do!

But now this "South Slope" "Gowanus" nonsense has got to stop. I lived on 3rd Street at Hoyt in a warehouse in the early '90s, and we called it "The Gowanus Basin" and we thought we were hysterically ironic. That the neighborhood ever developed a name using Gowanus is equally absurd, but fairly apropos. But nobody, and I mead NOBODY confused Gowanus with the South Slope. To be Slope, you had to live east of 4th Avenue (and some felt 3rd Ave). To be South Slope, you had to be south of 9th Street. And how do I know? I lived with my (now) wife there for 5 years in the late '90s to early '00s, on the 14th Street between 4th and 5th. And hey, the people who'd lived there a long time didn't even think of it as Park Slope at all, not even with the Slope.

Snob, are you referring to Greenwood Heights, as I sometimes heard the area between Park Slope and Sunset Park referred? Now THAT was pure concoction.

Lastly, Babs, if the neighborhood had been named in, say, the 1930s, yes I'd say I'm being presumptuous. But, and this is key...

Who was being presumptuous when they renamed Flatbush in the first place, in 1969, summer of the Manson Murders? (Charles, not Marilyn).

I rest my case. Lefferts Gardens, and that's my final offer, out of respect to Bob Thomason and co. Though I am ever so fond of the name Pigtown.

Bob Marvin said...

For me, our neighborhood will always be Prospect Lefferts Gardens [no hyphen, unless we're talking about the Historic District, where the Landmarks Preservation Commission put one in by mistake]. Nevertheless, I'm perfectly happy to use EITHER PLG or Lefferts as a shorthand expression; the former with residents, and others in the know; the latter with outsiders and other poor benighted folks.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Bob: I'm happy to accept your olive branch, however I must contest a basic assumption. There may be plenty of internet savvy folks up by you who call the neighborhood PLG, but I assure you that nearly no one down by me knows what the eff you're talking about. The first time I organized a Clarkson block association meeting, we had maybe 25 people here, and only two had ever HEARD the term, let alone used it. They mostly said Flatbush if anything, but the idea of giving the neighborhood a name at all seemed pretty foreign. My next door neighbor still calls it "Kings County," probably because of the hospital.

Not to start another battle, I've always sense a little ownership of the neighborhood thing (entitlement perhaps?) happening up in the Manor and historic district, and not everyone is on board.

disco princess said...

Babs, at least the name "Empire Boulevard" fits in with the NYS/Empire State-themed names of the other North-South streets in Crown Heights that cross it (New York Avenue, Utica Avenue, Albany Ave, etc.

I have no idea whether that was done on purpose or not.

Bob Marvin said...

Another rather unfavorable view of "Heights Park" on Curbed today:

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/06/13/why_prospect_lefferts_gardens_will_never_be_heights_park.php

babs said...

Disco, it totally was done on purpose: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malbone_Street_Wreck See the Aftermath part.

And I'm sorry that your neighbors on Clarkson didn't get the memo about PLG, Q; probably because the neighborhood was originally supposed to end at Parkside, which still seems more logical to me, although I'll let you in because I'm told I should. Otherwise, as usual, I agree exactly with Bob Marvin, especially thinking that those who call it "Lefferts" are benighted!